Losing football coaches take a lot of flack from the media and fans. Greg Schiano is getting his share here in Tampa Bay after losing the first 7 games of the season. His travails have got me thinking more about my favorite coach, John McKay, who responded to similar futility with some of the funniest quips in sports history. I could probably populate a blog with all of them; but, I have been highlighting a few to put this losing thing in perspective. You can have almost as much fun with losing as winning. The really important thing is having fun, period. I give you John McKay:
1. The Bucs used to have a placekicker named Tim Rajecki. You have probably never heard his name. But, he was not the best placekicker in history. When asked by a reporter one day why he was missing so much, he said that he got nervous around John McKay. Asked about it later, McKay quipped:
"Tell Mr. Rajecki that I plan to attend all the games."
2. Told that his quips were making headlines, even though his team was the worst in the NFL, he responded that he would tell his team, before the next game:
"Let's go out there and win one for the quipper."
3. After losing a string of games to the Packers, and one in which the wind chill was below zero, McKay was asked how he liked going to Green Bay to play the Packers every year. He responded:
"If there were a contest with ninety-seven prizes, the ninety-eighth prize would be a trip to Green Bay."
4. Joe Namath was in the twilight of his career when McKay was coaching the early Bucs. However, he was very effective against them, and looked like the early Namath in beating them. Asked about it afterwards, McKay replied:
"Namath is still Namath; but, I must say that our guys were nice to him. I noticed that when they knocked him down, they helped him to his feet. That was gentlemanly of them. I thought one of them stood around long enough to get his autograph."
Coach Schiano, loosen up. Take a lesson from Coach McKay. A year after losing 26 games in a row, Coach McKay led the Bucs to their first playoff appearance, and they came within ten points of going to the SuperBowl. And, he did the whole thing with a wry smile on his face. John McKay - RIP.